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Topic: Copy-protection?

  1. #1



    What can we do about pirating software?
    Which kind of copy protection can we live with without too much annoyance?

    I am interested in hearing experiences from users and other developers like Gary and Nick who have used different copy protection.

    I am also interested in getting in contact with companies who can do c.p. for this email me at: info@scarbee.com



    Visit www.scarbee.com and check out the demoes from The Scarbee Bass Libraries

  2. #2

    Re: Copy-protection?

    Hi Scarbee,

    Take it from someone who has been self employed in the internet software business for over 7 years now. (Creating multimedia software for the Windows platform.) Usually when software sales are not what we think they should be, the first thing we think of is \"stop the pirating and we make more money!\". Problem is, that simply is not true. You will never be able to stop pirating. We have discussed this before. If I am wrong I apologize, but I\'m assuming your sales are not what they should be, otherwise you wouldn\'t be starting this topic. I seriously think you would be making more money getting out of the Tascam contract. In my opinion they are not marketing YOUR bass libraries very well. They ARE however making themselves look bigger and bigger with each ad in the mags, they seem to want to be developer and distributor of all things Giga. Fine, but it sucks for you. The more libraries they distribute, the less focus you get. I have NEVER seen any of your libraries in my local music stores. (Brook Mays, Mars, Guitar Center.) You more than likely have the best bass sample libraries ever created. I can\'t believe you\'re not getting rich from this venture. Get out of the contract, give some stores a cd on consignment. Market it yourself and offer half off sales once in a while so the part time musicians can buy on impulse. Plus, I\'m beginning to realize the \"buying giga market\" seems to be VERY small compared to the other formats. Hey, we\'re glad you support the giga line, but I also want you to stick around and make your J-Pick library, and your guitar library, put your libraries in Roland, Akai, Halion, formats TODAY! Make some money, relax, you\'ll quickly forget about the pirates. I remember the first time I saw my software on all of the pirate websites, newsgroups, etc. It almost drove me nuts for about 6 months straight. I would change registration codes, write new protection, etc, and within 24 hours, the pirate boards would be updated with cracks, patch updates, reg codes, etc. And then it dawned on me, these guys are NEVER going to buy my software, so why am I worrying about it? Sure, if you\'re attempting to bust some of the big composers who pirate your samples then it might, MIGHT, be worth the time and effort, but I KNOW you would make more money by spending your time marketing your products better, converting to other formats, etc. The more time you put into this pirating topic, is just more time taken away from producing new libraries.

  3. #3

    Re: Copy-protection?

    Hi Munsie,

    It was actually out of interest. Just wanted some experiences.

    I have bought 3 XP\'s for my PC\'s with the new key-registration system and I hate it, but is is effective (I have bought 3 now...)

    I also bought XP Office and it is the same - only 1 PC. I have a couple of other programs which uses the same system. It is a pain when you have to make a new install, but it IS effective. I have had to call Microsoft a couple of times to get a new key and have mail to other companies too. Usually no problems.

    What do you think?

  4. #4

    Re: Copy-protection?

    I actually think that you library developers are better protected than most folks selling software based on the size of your products. Few people are going to bother uploading 16GB of data!

    Make the libraries big and complex, and then keep the costs reasonable. You\'ll make sales and it just won\'t be practical (in the current high speed home network world) to even try and share them

    Very few people are going to make CD copies and give them away. That\'s low volume anyway.

    Just my thoughts.


  5. #5

    Re: Copy-protection?

    BTW - Waves released the \'Masters Bundle\', which is a wonderful piece of software using an expensive aftermarket software protection scheme, and within 8 hours the cracked version was on the web. That was painful, cost them a lot of money, and did them no good. Why should it be any different for you? You want to make money, not pay money for protection that doesn\'t work.

  6. #6

    Re: Copy-protection?

    The thing about software is that you cannot copy protect anything. Everything is reverse-engineerable. Leaving even the most advanced copy protection algorithm useless in the hands of a skilled \"cracker\". Sad but true. Even hardware dongles that were manufactured as an attempt to overcome the pirates was cracked in the form of a software emulator that would emulate the hardware dongle by making a virtual parallell port driver and pick the dongle apart and obtain the information necessary to recreate the hardware chip as software. (Called reverse-engineering).

    So sad but true, but even hardware can be pirated. In theory skilled crackers/hackers could disassemble an expensive hardware box like a tc3000 reverb, and reprogram it as a VST effects plugin. Of course this would take a long time. But in theory it is possible.

    So I guess my response is that you can\'t protect yourself from crackers with copy-protection schemes.

    A thought would be to use some kind of memory resident (TSR) program that sends out information about your library to an online database, which verifies its origin and serial number + username (That would require online registration of the sample cd) to ensure that it\'s not a duplicate. This require the user to go online prior to loading his samples, send the information to the database server, and then disconnect when his cd had been approved. He would have to do this each and every time he loaded Gigastudio and those samples.

    Of course crackers would find a way around this too, by reprogramming the software to obtain access to the library by routing the online request to a local host and set up a fake local server that grants permission to everything.

    If people don\'t understand what I\'m talking about don\'t bother to ask. It is of no importance to the average consumer.
    I\'m just trying to explain how hard it is to get by the means of crackers and pirates.


  7. #7

    Re: Copy-protection?

    While it is pretty much impossible to completely stop pirating, some of the simpler protection techniques can help thwart pirating between \"newbies\", I guess you could say.

    For example, John Doe could loan his copy of Ultimate Strings to Joe Blow at any time he wanted (not legally, of course). But with VotA, for example (not that I\'m calling its protection scheme \"simple\", btw, in reference to my first statement), Joe could lend his copy to John, but then poor ol\' Joe is asked for the original CD one day and has to go through the trouble of getting it back.

    You just gotta hope that neither of them will look for alternative, more advanced techniques of stealing your product.

    Don\'t \"go for broke\" trying to stop pirating... you\'ll just lose your money. But keep up with the \"tried and tested\" ways of stopping the average customer from screwing you over.

    [This message has been edited by Lance_M (edited 03-21-2002).]

  8. #8

    Re: Copy-protection?

    I believe that Nick is right on trying to stop \"peer to peer\" piracy - like 3 studios in same building swapping CD\'s or musicians swapping. This is the ´worst kind, because they would probably buy it. The Pirates who downloads and crack is probably only doing it because it is exciting and fun. I wonder how much they use the stuff they pirate.


  9. #9

    Re: Copy-protection?

    As someone who used to actively participate in software piracy, I can tell you that copy protection doesn\'t work.

    Before anyone starts flaming me, I don\'t pirate software anymore, and I\'ve thrown out every piece of software I ever pirated. It was a horrible thing for me to have to do, but it felt good doing it.

    Anyway, most of you probably only know the tip of the iceberg in piracy. Pirates can hack ANY program. I can\'t stress this enough. Here\'s a perfect example:

    As was stated above by Scarbee himself, \"I have bought 3 XP\'s for my PC\'s with the new key-registration system and I hate it, but is is effective.\"

    It\'s effective for you, but not for the pirating community. Before XP went out to consumers, it went out in OEM version to companies like Dell, Gateway, and Compaq so that they could set it up on their new systems. This was about 15 days or so before it was supposed to go on market. What happened? The VERY NEXT DAY, XP was all over the internet in its final version. How? The version that they gave to Dell etc. was without copy protection, and therefore easily crackable. Later, someone figured out how to crack the \"uncrackable\" activation scheme anyway. Now, if Microsoft can\'t keep people from cracking their software, no one can.

    So, as it has been said before, these people are NEVER going to buy your software, so there is no point in protecting it. Rely on the honesty of people. After all, I finally saw the light, even though it would be nice to have all my software again, my honesty finally won out.

    As I said, please do not flame me. I am trying to help.

  10. #10

    Re: Copy-protection?

    I, too, have burned many brain cells debating this issue. In the end, I sincerely believe that copy protection only ends up hurting the legitimate user - especially the legitimate user who is not technically savvy.

    Allow me to digress with a brief story... Many years ago, I bought a high end sequencing package for a computer. It was copy protected using a nasty diskette-based system. Sure, it could be installed to a hard drive, but it went back and parsed the floppy drive for the \"special\" disk. I was not aware of this at the time of purchase, or I would have not purchased the product.

    Indeed, the protection scheme used was sophisticated. So sophisticated, in fact, as to be somewhat unreliable even with the original disk. But the company that produced the software was \"reasonable...\" They would send you a \"backup disk\" for $25.00. I thought this was complete and total BS, far from reasonable, so I wouldn\'t buy one. Truth be told, I eventually found software that would make backup copies of this disk, and made myself a dozen or so backups to keep in my safe. (And it was a good thing, too. Over the years, I wore out at least 8 of these disks. And no, I didn\'t give them to anyone else). God help the non-savvy user who had no skills to keep their legitimately purchased software working.

    I will no longer purchase software that includes copy protection schemes.

    But that aside -- here is my view as a computer professional, a musician, and a purchaser of software products... I am tired (damn tired) of spending TONS of money on unstable, misrepresented, poor quality software (or equivalent). In my life, I have spent literally thousands of dollars on software, and I\'m sick of getting stuck!

    As a consumer, I want to be able to try stuff before I buy it. I want to SEE it work, in my environment, on my system, doing the things I want it to do. I\'m tired of paying for things that are simply not up to even low standards.

    As a computer professional (who has written and sold commercial software in the past), I want to see developers make good money for making a good product, and I want to see bad products either improve or be darwinized out of the market.

    Bottom line is this. Piracy cannot be stopped. It can be reduced. There are ways to do this, I believe.

    1) Reasonable pricing strategies for software makes it \"not worth someone\'s time\" to pirate

    2) Make real-world demos a possibility so people can honestly try the software

    3) Modularize the cost. Plug-ins are a great idea! This allows the consumer to spend money more directly on what they need, rather than paying a fortune for features that will remain unused.

    4) Make purchasing and upgrading easy - downloadable, etc.

    5) Make stable stuff that works!

    Oh well -- flame away! Just my $.02

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